Today we have an interesting slate with a few top-tier pitching options and some pretty high totals on the board. Let’s dive in.
At the top, we go with Madison Bumgarner ($11,400) against the Diamondbacks. We have all watched Bumgarner in the early going this season, and it has not been pretty at all. He has yet to go more than six innings in a game this season, so he hasn’t been terribly efficient. Two of Bumgarner’s three starts have come on the road, where has pitched worse the last few years. Last year at home Bumgarner allowed a .241 wOBA to opponents while allowing a .296 on the road. For his career, he owns a .279 wOBA at home and .291 on the road with nearly a half-run difference in ERA. He gets a park boost at home while the D’Backs take a hit playing outside of Chase Field. He will be facing Zack Greinke, who has also been off to a slow start, but the win is no lock as the Giants are just a -134 favorite. Bumgarner also watches his strikeout rate go up a tick when pitching at home. In their 327 plate appearances outside of Chase Field, the Diamondbacks have a .323 wOBA and a 98 wRC+ so nothing too scary there. I believe that this is a decent spot for Bumgarner, who I believe will see a depressed ownership due to his recent performance and a few cheaper arms on the slate.
As mentioned above, Bumgarner will face Zack Greinke ($10,300) tonight. The Giants are the favorite, but the run total is set at just 6.5 runs, which bodes well for Greinke. So far this season the Giants have posted a .319 wOBA against both left and right handed pitchers, so they hold their own against all. Greinke gets a park boost going to AT&T tonight, so that is another plus. This season the Giants are striking out in just 18.5% of their at bats against right-handed pitching, so their bat to ball skills as a team may prevent some strikeout upside. Greinke has been a notorious groundball pitcher throughout his career, which also plays well in San Francisco. His price is $1,100 cheaper than Bumgarner, so he allows for some flexibility when constructing your lineups. We do have to remember that Greinke was unreal last year and could very well get back to that point. Opponents currently have a .333 BABIP against Greinke, who has a career BABIP against of just .298, so expect some regression from opponents. While I slightly favor Bumgarner in this matchup, Greinke gets a good park boost and also may go a little under owned because of the recent performance and Giant offense.
Chris Archer ($8,500) is another interesting arm at a depressed price tonight. This is one of my favorite tournament spots because of the 10+ strikeout upside that we have seen from Archer. Last night, Drew Smyly dominated the Sox offense, which has a .319 wOBA and .735 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Archer has a 29% strikeout rate and could present some issues for this Boston lineup. The biggest concern that I have with Archer is the high total in this game. Archer also isn’t favored which throws me off a little bit. I do think he presents some big upside, but he hasn’t been terribly efficient this season. Archer is strictly tournaments for me tonight.
How about the ageless Bartolo Colon? The big man is going to show up every fifth day and throw 90% fastballs while still being somewhat respectable as a starter. The Phillies offense has been dreadful this year, posting a .296 wOBA against right-handed pitchers to go along with their .678 OPS. That is just brutal. Colon typically doesn’t carry much strikeout upside, but the Phillies are striking out 21% of the time against right-handed pitchers this season. Colon is a -153 favorite in a game with an 8.5 run total—which isn’t ideal. He is going to cost you $5,500 against one of the worst offenses in baseball. I think he is a pretty good value in tournaments because of this Phillies offense.
I believe the most popular stack of the day is going to be the Mets. The Mets have absolutely dominated the Phillies in this series, hitting six home runs last night in a route. Tonight the Mets will face Jeremy Hellickson, who has outperformed what everyone pictured coming into this season. Hellickson has allowed a .337 wOBA to right-handed hitters and .321 to left-handed hitters. Michael Conforto jumps back out as a prime play today at $3,400. Conforto is sporting a 43.3% hard-hit rate against right-handed pitchers while Hellickson is allowing a 34.4% hard-hit rate to left-handed hitters. In fact, six Mets are sporting a hard-hit rate over 35% against right-handed pitchers this season. The Mets are favored in a game with an 8.5 total, so this is a prime spot. They will be popular, but I think that Conforto and Duda stand out as prime options in the middle of the Mets lineup.
How about stacking the Orioles today at home? That sounds like a good idea against R.A Dickey, who will be throwing a knuckleball against the wind. The winds in Baltimore are blowing out around 8-10 mph today, which could hold that knuckleball in the air a little longer than normal or cause issues with movement. In his 9.2 innings on the road this season, Dickey has allowed a .372 wOBA. Last season, Dickey struggled on the road with a .346 wOBA. Chris Davis is an elite power bat who has a 44.8% hard-hit rate against right handed pitchers this season. Along with that, he is sporting a .360 ISO. I also think that Jonathan Schoop is in a good spot at second base tonight, but he will be hitting a little lower in the order. The total in this game is set at 9 and I imagine that more people roster Blue Jay bats than Baltimore. I think the Orioles are in a really good spot tonight.
The Texas Rangers are in a good spot tonight against Doug Fister, who has really been a shell of himself in the last year and change. Fister has allowed a .358 to righties and .335 to lefties over the past year, which leaves some of these Ranger bats in prime spots. I believe that Mitch Moreland is a great play in tournaments tonight because he has a 36.6% hard-hit rate against right-handed pitchers to go along with his .235 ISO. Rougned Odor is also in a good spot, but it will be interesting to see where he hits in the lineup. He is $4,000, so if he is hitting in the bottom-third of the order, I may pass. I don’t mind Nomar Mazara at $3,200 either. He is super talented and has the platoon on Fister.
Sneaky stack of the day will be the Tigers against Ian Kennedy. To start the season, Kennedy has been phenomenal, but that luck has to run out eventually. We saw it with Velasquez yesterday (even though it wasn’t all on him), and I do think we could see it again today. The wind is blowing out at 10+mph in Kansas City and Kennedy has a 38.7% fly ball rate. In a tournament, I am fine with J.D Martinez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton. These guys all have over a .330 wOBA and a 34% hard-hit rate against righties. All except Cabrera (surprising) have a .200 ISO against righties. The Tigers could be in for a low ownership night and get to Kennedy, who is due to regress.
Home run(s) of the night
Mitch Moreland—Low strikeout pitcher is a plus-park. Very good hard-hit rate against right-handed pitcher.
Oswaldo Arcia—Miller park is a great run scoring environment and Nelson struggles against left-handed bats.
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